> TEOTWAWKI Blog: Where did you start preparing?



Where did you start preparing?

Let's face it - most of us consciously start down the preparedness path at some point. Whether it's stocking up on some extra food and water, putting together a bug out bag, buying a home defense gun or something as simple as starting to carry a pocket knife--you start gotta somewhere.

Personally, I started off more down the every day carry route, while I was on a full-time mission for the LDS church. I worked in New Jersey--in such glamorous locales as Newark, Paterson and Jersey City. I was out walking around for 12 hours a day - lots of time in projects and all sorts of interesting places. I had a shoulder bag to carry books and handouts in, and it wasn't too long before I started adding some basics to it to make life easier. A good water bottle, a flashlight, little first aid kit, spare cash and so on. I bought a decent pocket knife and started carrying that and was surprised at how handy it was. And so on.

That was probably my first real, conscious trip down the path. I had always kind of been of that mindset--Alas, Babylon and the Road Warrior were favorites of mine as a teenager--but that was really where I started taking action.

That's probably why I recommend most people start with every day carry stuff. It's practical, it's going to get used, it's going to be with you in most emergencies and it's not going to sit in a closet. If you don't have those basics squared away, why would you put resources into putting together a bug out bag?

It's also why I recommend quality stuff--I still have almost all of the items I scrimped and saved for at that time, and it all still works. Mountainsmith Rocket, Streamlight flashlight, Leatherman Squirt, Kershaw pocket knife. It's mostly worn and most serves backup duty, but it all still works totally well.

Anyways, interested to hear from you guys and gals--let's get nostalgic. What did you start with?


  1. In the months following hurricane Rita. I realized how fast life can change in the aftermath of disaster. There are a lot of comforts stripped away, but you quickly learn that much of our lives really is not neccessary anyhow.
    I have a military background, so I fared well, but my significant other did not! LOL.
    Anyhow, my more recent preps have evolved to more non-matural disaster, than mother nature.
    Really y'all, a storm doesn't shoot back or take away your rights.
    If you prep for the fall of our society, a storm survivor you will be.

  2. I spent the first 20 years of my life in Galveston, Texas where hurricane's were a reality of life along the coast. I remember having extra food, lights, batteries, water etc around "just in case" we ever needed it. The worst storm, while I lived there, was 1983's hurricane Alicia. The storm was stronger (wind wise) than the last bad one (Ike) which had an incredible storm surge. We didn't have power for nearly a month if I remember correctly. It was a really hot and humid August with lots of mosquitoes. By being prepared, it meant that we didn't have to wait in long lines for the basic necessities and from that early age, it made an impression on me to be prepared as best as I can be. My home in Houston is ready for the next one. I've got plenty of supplies, but have also added a natural gas line that I can connect to my generator that has been recently converted from gasoline. The genny will power the essentials, like the refrigerator, some lights and my two window A/C units. I have two small children and I'd like to make any disaster somewhat livable for them.

  3. I had a job where I had tons of time to think, so it was in the back of my mind to buy some extra food. A fews days after I thought of this, as I was driving a voice told me to buy extra food start with rice. So I did and just kept adding slowly and quitely my family didn't know which ended up being a blessing. Then my parents asked me about it one day and I told them what I knew and they joined me in prepping.

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  5. Started preparing when I moved to San Diego, CA for college and to live on my own in 2006. I knew that if something were to happen, I could only depend on me to get out of the situation. Started adding a flashlight, tools, and jumper cables to my car (an Xterra then that already had a first aid kit attached to the hatch). Later added a car go-back with non-perishable food, water, blanket, road flares, bandana, ties, tow hook, etc . Improved the factory first aid kit.

    Then, I started working on a go bag and have it in my closet... good sturdy go bag with clothes, water, non-perishable food, flashlights, crank radio, knife... the works. Sure enough, the 2007 California fires hit and I grabbed my go bag, computers and some duffel bags with more clothes and food and just hit the road with my vehicle back to my parents. That was the first time I put everything in use. Of course, I have improved upon the existing gear/setup throughout the years.

    More info on the fires: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/October_2007_California_wildfires

  6. We started with preparing for a short period of time without electricity. Then upped it to working for a 3 month supply. Adding bulk items here and there, and adding supplies for cooking, heat, etc... we've gradually built up quite a supply. We've also added BOB's for every family member, and I keep a "Get-Home" bag in my vehicle at all times.

    I've always had firearms ready, but "prepping" has caused me to look more logically and long term at my firearms. Ammo supply and usefulness being top of the list.

    I've encouraged friends to start preparing for a small natural disaster and let it expand from there. I think you get a better reaction than if you go with some of the doomsday talk.

  7. I grew up in Alaska. Under the constant threat of ice/snow/wind storms, volcanoes, tsunamis, and of course earthquakes, not being prepared is simply stupid. Any major disaster could cut off supplies of food and basic goods for days or weeks. Even the public elementary schools require (or at least they did when I was a student) that each child bring in a small 72 hour kit of food and water to be kept in the classroom.

    Being LDS, my family has food storage since before I can remember. Each year we'd update our family 72 hour kit, and it seems like we were always adding a little here and a little there. I'm away from my old home now, but they have tripled their prep efforts to include EMT training, pilots licence (the ultimate in buggin' out of Alaska), and in the works is a off-grid safe haven.

    As for my own entry into prepping: right after I got married, my husband and I had few expenses and a bit of extra income from my great job. I started adding a few extra cans of food to our pantry and a few extra dollars to our emergency account. I did it knowing that it was "the smart thing to do." Six months later I was laid off and we lived off of those savings and stored goods for several weeks before getting back on our feet. That experience taught us how important getting prepared was, and we've never needed additional motivation.

    The scary thing is the feeling that no matter how much time, effort, and money I am currently putting into prepping, there are so many things that I still need to work towards. I know that I'm better prepared than most people, but there is always another week of water to add or another skill to learn. I try not to let it get the best of me, because I know that fear can be paralyzing. The only way to reach my (never ending) goal is to keep moving forward each day.

  8. As far as I can remember I would always have a backup of an item for when the first was finished. Then when we moved to North Dakota I started stockpiling food and water. We can get some severe storms and massive amounts of snow and it's not unheard of to be stuck in the house for days until the snow plows come. Then in June 2011, half our city flooded and that's when I started really researching prepping. I am glad I had a bit of a headstart over people who are just now realizing our economy is in bad shape.

  9. I've always been a gun enthusiast and noticed right off that many in media thought that made me 'suspicious' from the get go. There was a major recession in the very early 80's, and there was quite a bit of talk of a major depression or an invasion by Russia. That was my introduction in preparedness topics.

    Later on, I realized prepping just makes sense. Most of us buy insurance for our vehicles, valuables and domiciles - does that make us paranoid ? Just think of all the wasted money that goes over the years when you make zero claims. Total waste of money - yeah, UNTIL the unthinkable happens and that insurance pays off in spades.

    Prepping is insurance, just in case a crisis happens. Lose your job or become very ill causing money problems - one less thing to worry about, you gotta eat regardless of what is happening.

  10. Y2K was the trigger for me. We were newly married, lived in the city and ate out every night. I realised in about Nov 1999 that we had no food in our house. I quickly made a one month stock pile and went from there.

    We've accomplished alot since then. We live remotely, and completely off grid. We handle all our own waste and are set up for water harvesting. We grow a significant portion of our food, all our meats, all our dairy, eggs etc. I struggle with keeping canned foods as generally we don't eat them and we're low income so I hate watching them expire and having to replace them.

    My main focus is on producing food and the necessities of life. I try and focus on the rebuild after the collapse. My husband is ex-military so he does the guns etc.

    We live in a major active earthquake zone and have had 11,000 quakes since Sept 2010. I never travel to the city without a walk out pack as we live a long walk away. Because I have small children who sleep 10 hours every day, my pack contains food, water purification, wet weather gear, sun gear, sleeping bags, shelter, fire making equipment, spare socks. We could walk home even in subzero temperatures.

    I am the only person I know who makes any kind of provision, either for collapse or earthquakes. As a result we are absolutely secretive about it. A major concern I have is that no carbohydrate crops are grown anywhere near us. None whatsoever. I've been out scouting for them and there is nothing but livestock. The population here would starve very quickly once the animals have gone.

    I am hoping that the sparse population where we live will be a blessing for us. If we had more money I would prep to support others but that's just not possible at the moment. I have sent books to relatives overseas encouraging them to do as we do, but they laugh in my face. My sister in Australia has a shelf in her house just for the books I've sent her. She thinks it's all a joke but has promised me she won't give them away. I'm hoping that eventually she'll see the signs and make some preparations.

    We had no income at all for three months after the 7.1 quake in Sept 10, and we were just fine. We had cash, good food and free power so all was well. It's an insurance policy. I just hope we can keep others from trying to take what we have. I buy a lottery ticket every week because I could do something really spectactular with a large injection of cash!

  11. When i was 15 or so, (now 26) i went on a 40 mile hike/camping trip near the verde river in arizona with a morman boyscout troop. The guide thought we took a wrong turn and we were lost, when really we were just a few miles shy of our destination. At that time we all were low on water and started to ration it out. One of the adult members tried to hike on without his pack to find somebody for help and ended up spending the night cold and shivering next to a tree without much sleep. the next day some members we were supposed to meet got concerned and started to look for us. it seemed like a godsend when we met up with them, because they were carrying 4 gallons of water. a few hours before, we ran out of water and started disinfecting some water from a watering hole used for livestock. it was questionable. i made it out alive and the impact it left on my life was an eye opener. i started watching, les stroud, bear grills, and dave canterbury on survival shows and started to learn and think back and how bad things could have gotten in a wilderness survival situation. been slowly prepping ever since. it really interests me, and if there were a major disaster or emp or something of that nature, the general populace would be lost and would have no idea what to do.

    -jason from AZ


    When I was six, I found two rocks. I banged them together and discovered the flint knife. The rest is history.

  13. I started with EDC also. Before I even knew what "EDC" was. When I was 18 in 2005 I carried a pocket knife and a first aid kit on my motorcycle. I grew up in southern New Jersey about 10 miles outside of Philly. 25 now still in NJ, the various knives I've carried saved my life on 2 occasions. NJ, like most places around the country are becoming more violent and dangerous. So for me, it started with people trying to mug me or harm me while having only a pocket knife to fend them off. From there came everything else. EDC bags, bug out bags, storing food and water etc. Like many survivalists out there, I got into it by necessity.

  14. "Can't we just all get along?...."

    I was caught on Olympic and Normandy (just up the street from where Reginal Denny was dragged out of his big rig and beaten to a bloody pulp), in downtown LA the day of the Rodney King Riots. That was a real SHTF event. Changed the rules for me and my family.

    I don't visit third world locales anymore, even if they have a star on our flag and my family choose to live there. My wife and I started by moving to rural Colorado. We've been prepping ever since.


  15. Working on the farm when I was 12. It's a different mindset. No person wants to drive across the entire farm and fence structures because you cut your hand or need a tool for something. Then as I got into service work I found myself learning exactly how to prepare for any eventuality I saw in the field. Once I started to apply that to weapons and first aid it was a natural progression towards the mindset in regard to the family unit.

  16. growing up being prepared was a motto in the house, always had a place with spare food and some water. my parents also had bug out bags for us, the threat of wild fires and earthquake's was ever present in southern CA.
    when my first was born the total reliance of an infant on his parents for everything pushed the prepping to the top of the list. i could not stand the thought of harm coming to him due to my lack of preparedness.